Josie and the Pussycats might be a lazy reference; a ’90s reference would be even lazier. But roughly 20 years ago, a major label compilation of Saturday morning cartoon cover songs gave kids in the know a chance to hear bands like Butthole Surfers and Liz Phair offer animated redux’s of some cartoon classics. Tasked with covering the “Josie and the Pussycats” theme was Juliana Hatfield and Tanya Donelly (of Throwing Muses), two of the most respected (if not unheralded) women in ’90s music. The contrast between the powerful artists and the saccharine subject matter not-withstanding, the result was a pretty straight-forward take on the song.
Amanda X‘s “Quilted” feels like the more appropriate version of that pairing.
Uptempo and focused on the major chords, “Quilted” begins by pulling us in with the sweetness usually reserved for the warmth of summer, before vocalist/guitarist Cat Park sings, “Your blanket personality has left me dead on the floor.” By the time the perfectly coordinated harmonies kick in, minor chords take over and we’re reminded these are the waning days of the season. This dichotomy plays throughout the song, as tempos and auras change multiple times throughout its nearly six-minutes.
Arpeggio’d guitar leads pluck the highlights as Park sings in stride, “When I get the feeling that I need to do what I feel is right / You make me out to be one of those selfish types,” before seamlessly transitioning into the harmony-driven, “I want to prevent you from finishing all the things you wanted done / Pick me apart to the bone and you’ll find that the taste is much sweeter.”
Often times, these bursts of excitement are left to themselves, a two-and-a-half minute song that could be filed away as filler, but what Amanda X achieve on “Quilted” is a construent of ideas and instrumentation that is worthy of the lazy references. We remember those times in our lives because they were important—whether personally or otherwise—and they’re worth revisiting, even if sometimes they awaken unexpected feelings. And six-minutes feels like it went by in a flash.
Still, Park reminds us at the song’s finale (in goose bump-inducing shout-along fashion), that “The clouds move, the earth will tilt, and you’ll find that you’re no different than before.”
Luckily, we can always hit play again.
“Quilted” is the B-side of Amanda X’s Hundreds and Thousands 7-inch that will be released September 22 via Self Aware Records. It is available to stream below. You can listen to the A-side, “Juniper”, here.